Altschool, a Nigerian platform training people to become junior to mid-level engineers, has raised $1 million in a pre-seed financing round.
Altschool (which is completely different from US Altitude Learning formerly known as Altschool0n was founded by CEO Adewale Yusuf with Akintunde Sultan and Opeyemi Awoyemi in October 2021. Altschool emerged out of the CEO’s desire to train, alongside his team, people to become software engineers and help them with acquiring international opportunities. Back in 2020, the CEO wanted a physical campus where he and his team could train software engineers. He met with educational stakeholders at a public university in Ife, Osun state to bring his dream to life but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. He and his team went on to focus on scaling TalentQL, another startup he co-founded which eventually made it to Techstars. Thanks to Talent QL, the CEO acquired the “formula” he needed to bring his old idea to life – a remote-focused approach.
What Altschool does is provide an online platform with a curriculum aimed at improving the skills of people who either already have tech skills or who just want to upskill. Altschool also partners with tertiary institutions to give learners diploma certificates.
According to Altschool’s CEO, You might need a BSc if you want to be a doctor or nurse and some of these other skills. But when it comes to being a software engineer or digital skills, you really don’t”.
Explaining the usefulness of Altschool he said, “We need to find a shortcut for people, whereby they will be able to make money and provide for their family and add value to the economy. That’s one of the reasons we launched AltSchool because if a lot of people can have marketable skills, then I think we can solve a massive problem in the market”.
Signing up on Altschool requires having a high school certificate and being computer literate, Altschool website displays.
When students apply to the program, they are provided with a home study kit in preparation for an assessment test. Those admitted into the school, meeting a pass mark of 85%, will take a software engineering course with three tracks: frontend engineering, backend engineering and cloud engineering. It’s a one-year program where students take classes for nine months (three semesters) followed by a three-month internship at local tech companies to gain experience.
Currently, Altschool runs an income-sharing agreement (ISA). This way, students can pay for the program in instalments or in full when they get a job. The CEO, however, said that the company may do away with its ISA model and instead adopt a subscription model that would see students pay between $20 to $50 monthly for the duration of the program.
For those who do not get into the program, Altschool gives them access to its first semester content for free so they can practice and if they continue throughout to the end of the three-month curriculum, Altschool will offer them a way to complete the entire nine months-long program.
“We realize that the most important thing is skills. We genuinely want to give people the skills. And we know that not everybody that passed the assessment will make it to the end of school, nor are they better than those who failed. We’ll create a situation where if some can stick to the end of this semester, we’ll find a way for them to complete the programme”, the CEO said.
Altschool says that over 8,000 people have applied to participate in its software engineering program which begins in April. The applications were received from 19 countries out of which 14 were African countries. Altschool says it received the most application from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Botswana. The application fee for the program is ₦10,000, almost $20.
The funds acquired from the pre-seed round will be used to expand its content and curriculum as well as improve its technology, infrastructure and community.